Alberto Giacometti


Alberto Giacometti
224 pp.

design by Herbert Matter
printed in Japan

This is a powerful book documenting an uncompromising view of Giacometti's work through the eyes of the esteemed Herbet Matter. Giacometti himself said that Matter had captured his works in their purest form, celebrating the photographs as a masterful achievement. This book captures the total series in a publication also designed by Matter. It opens with beautiful view of Switzerland—Giacometti and Herbert Matter's home country. The next section delves into Giacometti's cluttered studio, capturing it in a dramatic light, imbuing the space with a kind of poetic nostalgia for the quintessential artist atelier of that era. 

The final photographic section is a sprawling study of Giacometti's sculptures, drawings, and paintings. They capture his monolithic figures trapped between a kind of monumental awe and crushing fragility. Matter (and to the credit of the phenomenal publisher, Abrams) gives these photographic works the time and space they need to breathe and imprint a lasting impact on the viewer. The book is both massive in scale and length, never once feeling rushed or tedious. The variety of scale, light, color, and form create an entrancing experience navigating it. If there was ever a book that comes close to capturing the stirring and poignant experience of looking at a Giacometti in person, it is this.




Libro Port Publishing

design by Seiichi Suzuki
printed in Japan

This is probably my favorite photobook of Araki's hundreds that I've come across. In it, he crystallizes a life-long preoccupation with sex, love, passion, pain, and death. Araki asserts that these "poles" of emotion and experience aren't so different and in fact go hand-in-hand. Coming to terms with these complex and intertwined relationships of life and death, love and loss, will help us enjoy and cope with these enigmatic and integral experiences of the human condition.


To achieve these highly visceral images with clear influence stemming from the Provoke generation of Japanese photographers, Araki employs a ring flash and macro lens in order to photograph his subjects as intimately as possible. He frames the quotidian—fruit, flowers, plumbing fixtures—as provocative and suggestive motifs juxtaposed against the naked body. Traditional hierarchies are flattened in Araki's masterful pacing and arrangement of images. A spoiled fruit, blossoming flower, or running faucet is no uglier or more beautiful than an embracing couple or woman contorted in ecstasy. This book is a celebration of living life with  vivid intensity through an acute understanding of our own emotions and motivations.


Japan: A Self-Portrait


Japan: A Self-Portrait
Shoji Yamagishi
International Center of Photography

design by Arnold Skolnick
printed in New York

This book is based on the exhibition at the International Center of Photography, New York in April/May 1979. It presents works by Japanese photographers of the seventies that depict the realities of postwar Japan and beyond from their unique perspectives. With introduction by Taeko Tomioka and foreword by Shoji Yamagishi. Photographers’ biographies are provided.

One fascinating element of this book’s design which is immediately apparent is the distribution of the photographic plates throughout the book. Unlike traditional organizational structures where the plates are grouped in one section and the literature another, the “exhibition” of the various photographer’s works begins literally on the recto of the very first page and their haphazard distribution continues throughout, even on the title page and back cover. 


The Shepherd


The Sheperd— A Documentary
from Paris 2002–2006
Yoshie Tominaga

design by Koichi Hachiman
printed in Japan

"Photographer Yoshie Tominaga has captured what happens backstage and behind the scenes from the very beginning of Jun Takahashi’s adventure with the fashion label Under Cover. Her insightful photographs, dating back to October 2002, not only reflect a strong and trusting relationship with the designer, but also document the dynamic development of an internationally celebrated fashion house. Alongside the fashion highlights found in this far-ranging collection of colour and black and white photographs is a series of written exchanges between Patti Smith and Tominaga."